Readers may recall the debate over the creation of Independent Jewish Voices, a new network of “independent” Jews in the UK. IJV’s manifesto is first and foremost a political document, lacking any real connection to the religious sensibilities and needs of Jews. A testament to this is the fact that the group’s second public outing took place Friday at the City Circle, a new Muslim organization whose aims are:
to promote the development of a distinct British Muslim identity; to assist the process of community cohesion and integration by building bilateral strategic alliances between Muslim and non-Muslim communities; and to harness and channel the skills and resources of Muslim professionals into practical projects thereby facilitating and empowering young Muslim women and men to “put back in” to the wider British community.
All commendable purposes, certainly. But why did IJV choose this venue? There is nothing distinctly Jewish about interfaith dialogue and cultural pluralism: they belong much more to the political order of secular modernity. An organization that claims to represent a part of the Jewish world marginalized by the Jewish establishment should strive to show more awareness of—to say nothing of identification with—specifically Jewish values.